Boeing will fly its 747-8 freighter to the Paris air show on a biofuel blend sourced from camelina, marking the first transatlantic flight of a commercial airliner using alternative aviation jet fuel.

Each of the aircraft's General Electric GEnx-2B engines will run on a blend of 15% biofuel derived from camelina and 85% kerosene.

The flight from Seattle is scheduled to land at Le Bourget at 17:00 local time on 20 June. It will depart Le Bourget to visit launch customer Cargolux later that week.

The camelina used to produce the fuel was grown in Montana and processed by Honeywell subsidiary UOP. It is a drop-in fuel which does not require any changes to be made to the engines or operating procedures.

"This historic flight is a boost to aviation's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency in all phases of our industry," said Boeing's 747-8 vice-president and general manager Elizabeth Lund.

The announcement follows the recent approval by certifying body ASTM International for the use of hydrotreated renewable Jet (HRJ) fuel in commercial aviation. The approval secured on 8 June is to be made official later in 2011.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news